While Ireland are chasing goals in Dublin, our group rivals Austria and Sweden clash in Vienna. If that game finishes level and the Boys in Green win, they’ll move second in World Cup qualifying Group C.
Ireland head from Dublin to New York to take on Spain in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday and the same evening Sweden play their game-in-hand against the Faroe Islands in Solna when they could well take control of the play-off position.
The Faroes took a shock lead against Sweden in Torshavn last October before goals in the 65th and 75th minute earned the visitors a laboured win. It’s difficult to imagine they’ll suffer the same troubles on home soil.
On the other hand, a win for Austria in Vienna tonight could see all three teams level on 11 points by the end of the current series of games next week. The two sides have met seven times previously in FIFA World Cup qualifying,with three wins each and one draw.
The home fans know Friday’s clash at Ernst Happel Stadium is a massive chance for Austria to show their qualification credentials. The draw in Dublin has boosted supporters’ expectations. Ahead of tonight’s clash, when Swedish coach Reine Almqvist suggested the Austrians had a weakness on the right side of defence. captain Christian Fuchs replied “We’re not interested in this judgement.”
Sweden warmed up for the fixture with a 1-0 friendly win over Macedonia last weekend; the goal from Alexander Kacaniklic coming in the first half.
Austria have not been in action since grabbing a last-gasp equaliser at the Aviva Stadium..
The crucial period for Ireland comes in September when we face both teams in the space of four days.